A special court in Mumbai has allowed a consortium of 15 banks led by the State Bank of India to utilise the movable assets of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to recover more than Rs 9,000 crore he owes them, PTI reported.
Senior counsel Rajeev Patil, the consortium’s lawyer, said the court lifted the attachment on movable assets on Tuesday. However, the court also stayed the order till January 18 to enable Mallya to appeal to the Bombay High Court.
The seized assets mainly comprise financial securities such as shares of United Breweries Holdings Limited. They were attached by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in 2016 when it declared Mallya a proclaimed offender.
Mallya’s counsel Amit Desai said it was not clear if the court had ordered for the assets to be restored to SBI or the consortium. “We are waiting for the order copy for further clarity,” he told PTI.
On December 12, the United Kingdom High Court reserved its verdict on the public sector banks’ petition to declare the businessman bankrupt. Mallya’s lawyer argued that the Indian banks were established as secured creditors that made the bankruptcy plea unfair.
Before this, the High Court had refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya’s assets and upheld an Indian court order saying the banks were entitled to recoup the money Mallya owed.
The businessman fled India and moved to London in March 2016. India submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom in February 2017 after he made his self-imposed exile clear. The United Kingdom High Court allowed him to challenge his extradition order in June.